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re·​tic·​u·​late ri-ˈti-kyə-lət How to pronounce reticulate (audio)
: resembling a net or network
especially : having veins, fibers, or lines crossing
a reticulate leaf
: being or involving evolutionary change dependent on genetic recombination involving diverse interbreeding populations
reticulately adverb


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re·​tic·​u·​late ri-ˈti-kyə-ˌlāt How to pronounce reticulate (audio)
reticulated; reticulating

transitive verb

: to divide, mark, or construct so as to form a network
municipalities that reticulate electricity to consumers

Did you know?

Though "reticulate" is used in many contexts, it finds particular use in the field of biology. "Reticulate" comes from the Latin word reticulum, meaning "small net." It first appeared in English in the mid-1600s and was used in connection with the study of plants even back then. Scientists use "reticulate" to describe a net-like formation of veins, fibers, or lines that crosses something. For example, a leaf with a pattern of veins that resembles a net would be called a "reticulate leaf."

Examples of reticulate in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web
Thelma, a reticulate python, gave birth through parthenogenesis in 2014, the first time this behavior had been documented in its species. Conor Murray, Forbes, 14 Feb. 2024 The leaves had reticulate venation, a web-like pattern of interconnected veins. Allison Futterman, Discover Magazine, 10 Nov. 2023
Folks in southern Oklahoma are currently on the lookout for a giant albino reticulated python that has been living for months near a trailer park. Sage Marshall, Field & Stream, 4 Oct. 2023 The Giraffe Conservation Foundation lists reticulated giraffes as endangered. Caitlin O'Kane, CBS News, 5 Sep. 2023 Kenya’s national parks and reserves cover just 8 percent of the country, and most big mammals—including almost all reticulated giraffes—live outside them. Ed Yong, The Atlantic, 13 Mar. 2020 The front wing is gray with black spots and the wings tips are reticulated black blocks outlined in gray. Beth Burger, Columbus Dispatch,, 24 Jan. 2020 An autopsy found that Laura Hurst was killed Wednesday by an 8-foot reticulated python in a home that police said was filled with 140 snakes. Vic Ryckaert, Indianapolis Star, 1 Nov. 2019 The record for longest snake living in captivity is held by a 25-foot, 2-inch reticulated python named Medusa, who is owned by Full Moon Productions Inc. in Kansas City, Mo., according to the Guinness World Records website. Fox News, 17 July 2019 Maybe not this one, but reticulated pythons are considered the snake most likely to eat a human, the museum says. Christina Maxouris, CNN, 16 July 2019 For a $3 ticket, guests can feed a carrot stick one of the zoo's reticulated giraffes. Vic Ryckaert, Indianapolis Star, 5 July 2019 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'reticulate.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



Latin reticulatus, from reticulum


back-formation from reticulated, adjective, reticulate

First Known Use


1658, in the meaning defined at sense 1


circa 1728, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

Time Traveler
The first known use of reticulate was in 1658


Dictionary Entries Near reticulate

Cite this Entry

“Reticulate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Mar. 2024.

Kids Definition


: resembling a net
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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